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DraftKings MMA DFS Picks | UFC Vegas 51

DraftKings MMA DFS Picks for UFC Vegas 51

Monk here with a UFC DFS breakdown for TeamRiseorFall.com. We are back with UFC Vegas 51 and while it’s no UFC 273, there are some great fights that I’m very much looking forward to on this card. Headlined by the welterweight rematch of Vicente Luque x Belal Muhammad and co-mained by a couple of very promising UFC debutantes in Caio Borralho x Gadzhi Omargadzhiev, this week’s card is full of variance and a few lower-level fighters that we should be keeping an eye on. Close that work laptop and shut off that Blackberry, because it’s time for The Monkmatician to lay down some facts and feelings.

I’m going to give you three value plays & a fade this week, so let’s get into it.

Before we get started, be sure to check out some of the other amazing content that our experts at Team Rise or Fall have put together. Our very own Detroit Beastie has a fantastic NHL article for you today. Hot Pucking Stacks is live on the website and includes a wealth of NHL DFS morsels and information to help you get that money on this night before UFC fights. I know that paycheck is burning up in your pocket, so why not make money instead of wasting it? Click it…click it…click it! Find that and much, much more over on TeamRiseorFall.com and start dominating your tournaments!

DraftKings MMA DFS Picks for UFC Vegas 51

Play #1 – Pat Sabatini ($9200)

The first play I will give you for UFC Vegas 51 is the third-highest salaried fighter in Pat Sabatini. Pat has one of the highest-scoring paces on the entire card, tallying 4.02 raw DraftKings points per minute while allowing only 1.64 per minute defensively. With an average value of just under 11 and a DraftKings points per win rate of 92.73, I don’t see how Sabatini does not score well in this fight regardless of how it ends.

Sabatini’s opponent, TJ Laramie, has more than a few red flags that I’m seeing. Not only is he 0-1 in the UFC, but he has been finished in three of his four professional losses (2 KO/TKO, 1 SUB). Allowing 7.83 raw DraftKings points per minute in his very quick UFC debut loss, TJ is someone that Pat Sabatini should have little to no trouble figuring out and defeating by unanimous decision or possibly even a submission.

Again, Pat Sabatini’s scoring upside is high enough to feel comfortable rostering him in many lineups this week, cash or GPP. Pat has a decent strength of schedule and landed five takedowns in his previous fight against Tucker Lutz. I do not see this fight being much different, and I will be looking to put Sabatini in around 70% of my lineups this week.

Play #2 – Belal Muhammad ($7700)

Play number two is an underdog with a great salary; I’m going with Belal Muhammad at $7700. Yes, most of you hate Belal because you don’t like MMA (I kid…or do I?), but his fighting style can score extremely well in DraftKings, as we saw when he racked up over 130 points in three rounds against Wonderboy Thompson. Yes, Belal was finished by Luque in their first fight via KO/TKO stoppage, but I believe Muhammad has shown that he has improved many aspects of his game and honed the best bits.

Vicente Luque is a tremendous fighter and DraftKings scorer in his own right, although the paths these two take to get to their high scores couldn’t be more different. Belal is more of a wrestler with a much better defense than Vicente has, but Luque is an exceptional striker with power in his hands, and he will gladly eat two to throw one. Vicente does allow 3.46 raw DraftKings points per minute, and that aligns almost perfectly with Muhammad’s 3.54 points scored per minute rate.

I do plan on rostering a hell of a lot of this fight, with Belal Muhammad being the focus in both cash and GPP. The takedown upside of Belal is extraordinary and his defensive rate of only 2.06 points per minute is the second-best on the card. Give me at least 50% Muhammad, possibly closer to 60%. I think Belal gets his revenge on Luque in this second fight and I expect 84% of the “fight fans” over at MMA Twitter to tell Belal how much of a boring, not fighting fighter he is (anonymously, from behind a keyboard of course).

Play #3 – Rafa Garcia ($8200)

Play number three this week may be a bit sketchy, but if it hits it should pay off nicely. Rafa Garcia is not usually a fighter that I play a ton of, as he is 1-2 in the UFC, but he has some decent numbers for that subpar record. Tallying 3.42 raw DraftKings points per minute and putting up 93.11 points per win, Garcia is someone that has a lot of upside, even if it doesn’t always shine through. Rafa has some of the best grappling numbers on the card, averaging 1.33 points and 0.50 points per minute in takedowns and control time, respectively.

Garcia’s opponent, Jesse Ronson, has not fought in almost 2 years due to a drug suspension, has a UFC record of 0-3 (1 NC), and has allowed an average of 3.46 raw DraftKings points per minute since he has been in the promotion. Ronson has given up 1.94 grappling points per minute, and that has been Rafa’s bread and butter. The only problem with Rafa’s takedown game is his ability to hold his opponent down. With an average hold-down time of just 62 seconds and Ronson’s relatively quick get-up time of 90 seconds, Rafa could potentially gas himself out if Ronson gets up time and time again. However, that style could also play into our hands if Garcia can finish takedowns into the second and third rounds when Jesse continues to get up.

The grappling numbers alone say that you must play Rafa Garcia at $8200, especially since the winless Jesse Ronson is coming in $1000 over his average $7000 salary. I will be putting Garcia in around 35-40% of my lineups I would imagine, but be sure to set an exposure cap here as this fight has the potential to go south for our Rafa pick at any time.

Fade #1 – Heili Alateng ($8800)

My fighter to fade for UFC Vegas 51 is Heili Alateng. Not only are nearly all of Heili’s DraftKings stats well below average (2.05 raw DraftKings points per minute, 74.87 per win, never scored 90+), but the $8800 salary is one of the worst you can play. It does have a good win rate of 71.43%, but it makes the optimal lineup in only 22.86% of those wins, the second-lowest number of all used salaries. The $8800/$7400 salary pair has a fighter make the optimal lineup in just 34.69% of the time and averages a mere 87.83 DraftKings points per win. One last caveat to all of this; $8800 just made the optimal lineup at UFC 273 (Mike Malott), so making it two weeks in a row would be an anomaly.

Alateng’s opponent, Kevin Croom, is an underwhelming fighter with an 0-2 (1 NC) UFC record. Croom has given up less than 90 DraftKings points per loss on average thus far and has shown 15-minute toughness. Kevin has knockout ability, with a PowerIndex of 1.23 (4th highest) and he has also shown the ability to bank control time, scoring 0.51 points per minute in that category.

Heili Alateng has been finished in four of eight professional losses (3 KO/TKO, 1 SUB), and his opponent has finished 16 of his 21 wins as a professional. One more thing; Heili is six inches shorter than Croom with a seven-inch reach disadvantage, which can be extremely tough to overcome. I simply do not trust Heili Alateng yet and I consider an $8800 salary to be well overpriced for the output we can expect.


There you have it, loyal readers. If you cannot get enough of me, please check me out over on Twitter.

I do a weekly show, Game Theory, over on YouTube where I prep you for UFC Columbus with everything you need for MMA DFS. Check it out!

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Thank you all for reading & let’s win some money & get those takedowns this weekend! I want all of you to enjoy the fights, so…enjoy.

-Monk AKA The Monkmatician AKA Monk Master Flecks